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Case Study

Economic Drivers of Displacement in Yemen

7 May 2023 — By Cash Consortium of Yemen

As Yemen enters its eighth year of conflict, the country faces interconnected social and economic crises, severely limiting the government’s ability to sustain vital public services and a stable employment market. Additionally, Yemenis’ purchasing power has dramatically reduced due to exchange rate volatility and increased global prices, driving many into food insecurity. Yemen’s economic decline is compounded by additional domestic and international shocks such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, and the conflict in Ukraine. Yemen is also experiencing a humanitarian and displacement emergency, with about 23.4 million Yemenis (73% of the population) reliant on humanitarian assistance and about 4.3 million people displaced from their homes to other parts of Yemen as of March 2022. While estimates vary, from January to July 2022 – a period which covers the start of the truce in Yemen – 7,002 households (42,012 individuals) were displaced at least once according to the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). However, the United Nations Population Fund and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimate the figure could be as high as 220,000 individuals. While projected displacement estimates in 2022 based on IOM figures represent a slight drop in the number of internally displaced person(s) (IDP) compared to 2021 (157,555), displacement and loss of homes and livelihood remain a reality for many. Many IDPs are displaced within their own districts, testing established definitions of displacement, which exclusively include individuals that move between governorates. For the purposes of this report, economic displacement can be defined as ‘displacement that arises when a household is forced to displace not as a result of conflict, due to economic opportunities no longer allowing households to afford basic, sometimes lifesaving, needs. This report aims to outline the factors behind economic displacement in Yemen by utilising humanitarian reports, news articles, and key informant interviews. The report concludes with recommendations for further research and best practices for developing humanitarian interventions for programs targeting IDPs.